Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Prune Grapevines in the Fall

Vine - Field grape-vine image by Sebastien Icard from

Grapevines are used for decoration on garden trellises as well as for production purposes. When growing just for looks, trimming the vines is not necessary. However, if you want to use the grapes for juice or consumption, prune carefully to obtain the best fruit possible.

Choose two or three new growth shoots to keep. Pick the healthiest growth. Look for buds spaced at about 10 inches apart and as thick as your pinkie finger.

Tie the vines you want to keep to the trellis or other structure to train them where you want. This will also keep them out of the way so that you don't accidentally prune them off.

Clip off all other new vine shoots. Trim off next to the main vine. Leave a little nub of the vine. Do not trim flush to the vine because you might accidentally hurt the main stalk and weaken the entire plant.

Leave two or three off the best older vine shoots on the lower sections to keep growing, and clip off the ones that aren't doing as well. Make sure that you have no more than 60 total buds on the vine. Weigh the clippings and keep the proper number of buds, not to exceed 60. Keep 30 buds for the first pound and 10 for each additional. If you have more than 60 after your first trim, keep clipping.

Prune Concord Grapevines

Concord grapes are a popular grape for the home grower as they can be used both as a table grape or pressed to make juice. It is the most widely planted grape east of the Rockies and is very hardy. Vines must be pruned severely and methodically for the best yield. Without pruning, grapes can quickly become tangled messes with very little fruit. Prune in late winter when the vines are dormant. Only prune last year's growth as grapes grow on the current growth from last year's wood. From the tip of the new growth, follow the vine back until you reach the coarser bark. Prune again in the spring. After the new leaves are fully developed in the spring, you can prune again.

Garden Guides